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Monday, November 5, 2012

Early Society Canadian History

I am getting really interested in reading again about the beginnings of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Canada. We have Mother Sallion's account.She was the first superior and left New York on December 11 with Mother de Kersaint and Mother Eveline L'Eveque and Sister Anne Battandier. The trip on the Hudson river was so cold that the passengers were advised to go to bed early. Encountering an ice barrier, the captain decided to return to New York but offered to land any passengers who did not want to return. The nuns debated. "We were told to go, but not told to return...Let us imitate the Holy Family; perhaps we shall find shelter." They put their trust in the Sacred Heart and disembarked; they trudged forward in the bitter wind and finally reached an isolated post office. It was December 17 when they reached La Prairie, opposite Montreal. Then, after Mass and breakfast and a little rest at the Jesuit Superior's there, Mother Sallion announced that they intended to go on to Montreal! It was a dangerous trip as only part of the St. Lawrence river was frozen solid. However, they did reach Montreal only to learn that the Bishop was not expecting them until spring.
Mother Sallion wanted to get to their new house but she wrote: "The Bishop urged us to remain in Montreal until the day after Christmas. On the twenty-sixth the pastor of St. Jacques sent four small sleighs and two large ones, each driven by a trustee of the church, to fetch us and our baggage....The sleds made wonderful rapidity over the ice. Out of the thirty-six miles, we made twenty-four on the St. Lawrence and the Assumption River. Reaching St. Jacques, we went first to the church, where we found Father Pare, the pastor, awaiting us."
The account continues to talk about how warm the house was with four enormous stoves in full blast and another one in the kitchen. "There is not much furniture in the house as yet, but we have the essentials, and the rest is being made at a shop in the village...The convent was a surprise to the religious who came with sme, it is so well built and convenient...We have all kinds of provisions..."
The boarding school opened on January 2, 1843; they began with three and had sixty by September and the day school soon had 150!

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